Friday, September 23, 2011

The Insanity of Anti-Technology

Most people are abysmally ignorant of the role of science and technology in today's world. They have wildly romantic images of "organic gardening" and "back to nature" view of life. They are terrified of pesticides and absolutely ignorant of the fact that your veggies are packed with lethal concoctions natural to the plant as its defense against insects and other animals tempted to nibble on it.

These people think they can give up on nuclear power because it is dangerous while not aware of the deaths from traditional energy sources. They don't understand the trade-offs that must be taken in all aspects of our life. Mostly these are the coddled children of middle and upper class families, young adults never responsible for feeding and clothing themselves. But they get sucked up in a "great cause" of anti-science.

One of the most laughable was the "frankenfood" movement based in Europe. These people are convinced that if you transfer genes from one species to another you are upsetting "God's plan" and have created a great sin. They see genetically modified food as both dangerous and sinful. But they are completely ignorant of science and the fact that all life is chock-a-block full of "foreign genes" transported by viruses. This has been happening for a couple of billion years. The genetically modified food is perfectly safe unless the experiment was to move toxin-generating coding into the new species. But no food researcher is interested in poisoning people. They are trying to create stronger, better crops, e.g. move vitamin A into rice crops to fight disease. From Wikipedia:
Approximately 250,000–500,000 children in developing countries become blind each year owing to vitamin A deficiency, with the highest prevalence in Southeast Asia and Africa.
Again from Wikipedia:
Golden rice is a variety of Oryza sativa rice produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesize beta-carotene, a precursor of pro-vitamin A in the edible parts of rice.
This is the horror of "frankenfood"? This is engineered food to save half a million children per year from blindness.

The madness of anti-science was seen in the Unabomber. He was judge, jury, and executioner for his perceived "wrongs" of scientific researchers. Nobody appointed him. He had to pass no tests or get a license to go on his murderous spree. Rather than work within the system and try to set up regulations for ensuring safe research, he went on a killing spree. This is the "saviour" of mankind. Just as Osama Bin Laden was the "saviour" of a purist Islam. Self-appointed fanatics gone murderous and feeling saintly about their vicious trade.

Now I come to the purpose of this post. You should read about the latest gang of murderous anti-science fanatics and their handiwork. Here is a bit from an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about attacks on nanotechnology researchers in Mexico by self-appointed "saviours" of humanity:
A package bomb that injured two professors at a university here this month is the latest in a string of attacks by a new terror group inspired by the Unabomber. Its violent actions have put campuses across Mexico on alert and caused nanotechnology researchers worldwide to take precautions with their mail.

Nanotechnology was singled out as a target for the attacks in manifestos posted on the Web by the group behind the bombs, which calls itself "Individualities Tending Toward Savagery." It has been linked to attacks in France, Spain, and Chile, and to a bomb sent earlier this year to a scientist at another Mexican university who specializes in nanotech. An analyst who helped identify the Unabomber—who turned out to be a former professor—says the posts show signs of someone well-educated who could be affiliated with a college.

The online rants credit the Unabomber as an inspiration. ...


In the group's online post (written in Spanish) claiming credit for the latest bombing, the terrorists complained about the growing number of nanotechnology experts in Mexico, which it estimated at 650. "The ever more rapid acceleration of this technology will lead to the creation of nanocyborgs that can self-replicate automatically without the help of a human," it said.


Many people in the region are skeptical of science, he adds. "In our country, and in the whole Latin American region, we put more faith in the supernatural than in reason. This poses fatal consequences, making people view researchers in science and technology with suspicion and hate, as inhuman individuals, who work against society and as the exploiters and destroyers of natural resources."
These anti-science fanatics can't be bothered with facts. No researcher that I know of is trying to develop this kind of dystopian technology. Everybody I know is working to make a better world, like the first fellow who rubbed two sticks together to create fire. Sure, I'll bet there were those sitting around the resulting campfire speculating that some mad caveman would use this "new technology" to set afire all the forests of the world and destroy earth. Maybe they even plotted to kill the fire-starter and ensure the knowledge was lost because they saw it as a clear danger to the lovely lifestyle of sitting in the dark and cold eating raw meat and uncooked veggies.

People need to realize that science is what gives us the comfortable life we have. Those who are anti-science should put their energies into going "back to the land" and living with a "technology-free" lifestyle and quit trying to use murderous plottings to kill of the rest of us that are quite happy to benefit from fire, metal working, the wheel, the agricultural revolution, modern medicine, etc.

Two things astound me about these fanatics:
  1. Their temerity to act on own behalf to bring their twisted vision of the future to reality. Who appointed them? What right have they?

  2. The abysmal ignorance of these fanatics of the role of science in technology in modern life. Their blind ideology puts ignorance on a pedestal and they worship it. They use religion or just crass stupidity as justification for their evil actions without understanding what they claim to oppose or what the consequences of their actions truly are.
In my youth I was naive and thought the aberration of the Nazis with their ignorant anti-science views (the condemnation of "Jewish science" and their idiotic race theories) was a one-time thing. But as I get older I see more and more outbreaks of this kind of insanity. What truly astounds me is that these deluded people convince themselves they are the "benefactors" of humanity by going on a killing spree (just as Osama Bin Laden saw himself as the saviour of Islam by going on a jihad against the West). Insane!

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